#MotivationMonday – Spring Cleaning

It’s hard to believe with some people walking through snow today, but yesterday was the first day of spring! And what better way to welcome the vernal equinox than by getting rid of all the clutter in your life for some spring cleaning? Here’s a guide I wrote a couple of years ago, but it still rings true until today. Start your spring off right and make your life more simple and stress free!

Spring Cleaning Your Life

Happy first day of spring, y’all! The sun shows its face a little longer (12 hours to be exact), the weather (usually) gets warmer and we can finally put the nasty winter behind us. The coming of spring is also a time for rebirth and regrowth, a marker for us to start anew. And that includes getting rid of anything in our lives that feels old or unused – aka it’s spring cleaning time.

I’m not talking about doing a thorough sweep of your house/apartment and getting rid of old items in your pantry or clothes that you haven’t worn in a year (although you should probs do that too). No, I’m talking about cleaning up your life. Things that effect you every day that you keep putting off but know you should do something about. Here are a few suggestions for making your life a little less messy and a little more bearable than ever before.

DVR

I am probably not the best example for this, but I’m hoping this will help some of you out there. The problem with television today is that there are too many good shows on right now. That means there are probably a lot of shows on your list that you have to go through every week. I’m not even going to tell you how many shows I actively watch, because it’s stupidly embarrassing. But there are also shows that are on my list that I just watch out of habit, that I should probably just delete from my DVR because it’s not adding anything to my life. Example: Heart of Dixie. Why did I start watching it? Jason Street and Summer Roberts (Scott Porter and Rachel Bilson). Why am I still watching it? No idea. I put it on and I only half pay attention to what is happening. If you asked me what’s going on this season, I could tell you that Zoe is still dating that Jewish boyfriend from NY and not with Wade, and Jamie King’s character is MIA because she had a baby IRL. Case in point: it’s time to clean out my series recordings.

Hard Drive

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Is your computer running slow? Maybe it’s because you have too many extemporaneous files and pictures and songs your never listen to stored in the nooks and crannies of your hard drive. It’s time to clean up those cookies and get rid of those songs you downloaded in college just to create some kind of party mix, because honestly, are you listening to SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS on the daily while relaxing or browsing the internet?

E-mail Subscriptions

I admit it: I’m the worst at e-mails. Replying, sending, deleting from my inbox. I also sign up for things and forget how I signed up in the first place. Like all those Groupon/LivingSocial/OneSaleADay shit is too much. Literally ‘Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That’. I went to the Tribeca Film Festival once in 2005 and I am still on their mailing list. Unless they’re going to personally fly me out to New York, I’m probably never going again. So why am I still receiving their e-mails?? BECAUSE I’M LAZY AND DELETE THEM INSTEAD OF JUST UNSUBSCRIBING.

Facebook Friends

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You know when you’re going through your Facebook feed and you say “UGH” outloud when you see someone’s status of “going to the gym” or 500 pictures of the same baby just in different angles or those people who make politically incorrect and/or slightly racist comments  on your wall? Yeah, time to go through your list and unfriend those folks. You’re not in college anymore where the whole goal of Facebook was to be friends with every single person you had a class with. Use Facebook to stay connected with the people you actually care about. Maybe you’ll even find yourself complaining less about Facebook in general.

Actual Friends

girl bye nene

Let’s be real. There are people in your life that you should just cut off. If there’s anything I’ve learned being in my “late 20s” it’s that I don’t have patience or time to deal with people that don’t add to my life in any way. They might be the type of friends that add more drama to your life than is necessary as an adult or perhaps they are the type that are just… there, but either way, why are you wasting your time on people who aren’t a positive influence in your life when you could be hanging out with those who enrich your entire being? It may seem harsh, but you gonna do what you gotta do.

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(After) Life Lessons From ‘Are You Afraid Of The Dark?’

Like wielding a Nerf Super Soaker or running in Moon Shoes, Are You Afraid of the Dark? was an opportunity for 90s kids to show their mettle. Some of us, like me and my buddy Nikki, even used to watch it with the lights off. Without fail, one of my older brothers would ask what we were watching. “Are You Afraid Of The Dark?”, I’d answer. “I’m not, are YOU?,”” the brother would ask. I fell into that trap every time. Then things would get real Who’s On First-y, as tired a gag in 1992 as it was in 1952. The show would come on, and by the end of the half hour, we’d felt like we’d really survived something – and not just good-natured sibling ribbing.

But we weren’t just watching slightly-spooky SNICK fare, we were learning. Some books and movies teach you how to be alive (The Fault In Our Stars, anyone?), but Are You Afraid Of The Dark? taught us how to be, and be with, the undead.

If you’re ready for some ghostly fun, hyperlinks take you to the episodes in question – until they disappear! SPOOOOKY. (OK, actually I just think they’ll be pulled from YouTube at some point)

If A New Family Comes To Town, They Are Not Living People

New neighbors? Do not greet them warmly and make them feel welcome in your community. That’s the lesson I learned from this children’s show. If you have new neighbors, they are probably vampires. Mom has a new boyfriend? Best case scenario, some strange man is banging your mom now. Worst case scenario: watch out on the next full moon, because your new dad is a werewolf.

If You Are New To Town, Something Horrible Will Happen To You

Getting used to a new town, switching schools, making new friends – these are real concerns for kids who move. But in the 90s, Nickelodeon didn’t coddle kids by telling them that everything was going to be just fine and they’d feel at home in no time. That’s some Highlights For Children nonsense. No, Are You Afraid Of The Dark? confirmed every child’s fears about moving. Bad things will happen. It IS the end of the world. The house next door has the ghost of a deaf girl writing backwards on the walls. Your aunt’s jacket will turn you into a ghost. Aunt’s houses are the most haunted – there is probably also the ghost of a little boy who froze to death hanging around. Your new basement doesn’t just have weird slugs after rainstorms, it also harbors an evil creature that’s into music boxes. You may nearly burn down your new home in a fever-dream. And when you make friends with the neighborhood kids, they’ll lead you in a game of Hide And Seek where the only thing you find is an uneasy encounter with human mortality. Bet Highlights For Children didn’t teach you that one.

You SHOULD Be Worried About Starting High School. High Schools Are Full Of 1950s Ghosts

It can be scary going from being the big fish in Middle School to being the small fish being haunted by a larger ghost fish in high school. Finding a prom dress is nothing when you could easily end up finding a 1950s prom ghost instead. Or hey, maybe your school ghost is a far-out 1960s hippie who died in a chem lab explosion. Could your school ghost be a sea-beast who lives in the swimming pool? Or maybe, just maybe, the school ghost is YOU and you just don’t know you’re dead yet.

Sidenote: Our “high school ghost” was some turn-of-the-century biddy named Victoria who coincidentally only hung around the theater department — you know, the area with all the super-dramatic kids who love making up grandiose stories to impress each other? There were some spooky parts of the theater, but that’s not because of ghosts, it’s because the costume room was a long-abandoned priest’s apartment with a creepy free-standing abandoned sink still in there, up a rickety flight of stairs on stage left. I’m not saying Victoria wasn’t real, because saying ghosts aren’t real is what makes them haunt you super hard, I’m just saying that my sister was involved in theater, is eight years older than me, and never had heard of her. Also the ghost’s “backstory” was, I’m pretty sure, lifted verbatim from a Fear Street novel.

Children’s Toys Will Hurt You

So far we’ve covered how terrible things will happen to children who move, have people move near them (so basically, children who live in houses), and go to school. What’s a kid to do, sit idly and play with toys? NOPE. Only if you want to play with the supernatural as well.

Dollhouses are obviously haunted, everyone knows that, but in Are You Afraid Of The Dark? we learned that they can also imprison you in permanent doll form, like a Toddlers And Tiaras contestant without all the Mountain Dew. Pinball machines can come to life. If a toy company opens in your apartment building, the only thing they’re really selling there is doom and horror. You may as well just go to summer camp, right? Yeah, there are dead Edwardian children trapped in the woods. I’d say that kids should just read books instead, but I think we all know that books can come to life or trap you inside their very pages.

Bedraggled Children Are Creepy

It’s every kid for herself out there, so if you come across a homely, poor, or otherwise unfortunate child, IT’S A TRAP. Do NOT befriend them. I know your feelings will tell you otherwise, but feelings are just nature’s way of letting the weak get killed off by little girl ghosts. If the urchin next door has a shaggy, grown-out bowlcut, the haircut of an unloved child, obviously she was locked in a vacant house a half-century ago. The lonely kid with the bicycle is your childhood friend who you couldn’t save from drowning. And it goes for adults, too. The old lady who lives alone in a cottage isn’t a retiree whose kids live out of state, she’s a witch with a stash of shrunken monkey claws that she’s going to curse you with.

Sweet dreams, children. Everything you’ve been taught about school, friendship, and your community was a lie. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

The Collected Wisdom Of Celebrity Graduation Speeches

Now that it’s graduation season, I want to toss some nuggets of wisdom to all you graduates and graduettes:

  1. Commencement means beginning! Ugh sorry.
  2. Graduation is boring.
  3. The worst part is the speeches. I had to wait until law school graduation to hear a good one. It was probably not worth the crushing debt.
  4. Wherever you’re graduating from probably had an awesome speaker… last year.
  5. Your speaker will make a joke at the beginning of the address about giving a short speech, but alas;
  6. The speaker will not.

If your speaker was boring, irrelevant, or awful, then you should watch one of these great speeches instead. Or, if you aren’t graduating from anywhere, play these if you ever feel yourself in need of a pep talk. Watching these speakers is like basking in the combined wisdom of Coach Taylor and Mrs. Coach, often accompanied by the rakish good looks of Tim Riggins.

The Comedians

Amy Poehler

“ You never know what is around the corner unless you peek. Hold someone’s hand while you do it. You will feel less scared. You can’t do this alone. Besides it is much more fun to succeed and fail with other people. You can blame them when things go wrong. Take your risks now. As you grow older, you become more fearful and less flexible.”
“ Limit your “always” and your “nevers.” Continue to share your heart with people even if its been broken. Don’t treat your heart like an action figure wrapped in plastic and never used.”

I love Amy Poehler like my dog loves me. If you have a dog who’s not an asshole, you understand. Poehler can solve any dilemma, and make you laugh when she does it. That’s why, when I have any sort of life problem, I look to see if there’s an Ask Amy on-point (Amy: Please film something about first-time homebuying. It’s very hard.) Just think of this speech as an extended Ask Amy where the question is “what do I need to know to function as an adult?” Except she doesn’t get into the homebuying stuff.

Conan O’Brien

 ” In 2000, I told graduates “Don’t be afraid to fail.”  Well now I’m here to tell you that, though you should not fear failure, you should do your very best to avoid it.   Nietzsche famously said “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  But what he failed to stress is that IT ALMOST KILLS YOU.  Disappointment stings and, for driven, successful people like yourselves it is disorienting.  What Nietzsche should have said is  “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you watch a lot of Cartoon Network and drink mid-price Chardonnay at 11 in the morning.”[… ] [T]here are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized.  […] Your path at 22 will not necessarily be your path at 32 or 42.  One’s dream is constantly evolving, rising and falling, changing course.”

How many stories do you hear about people who know exactly what they’re going to be as a little kid, and spend their whole life working for it – as though it’s the most admirable course? Isn’t it just as good a story to keep growing as a person and finding new things you love and throwing yourself into them? I don’t think I’m a lesser person because I have knowledge of … you know, classical piano and Spanish linguistics that I don’t use in my everyday life; I think I’m better for the changed courses.

Fred Armisen


“Avoid people who tell you that something you want to do is not possible. You can all be male models… even the girls. Remember that there’s no one way of doing things.
Be around people who make you laugh. And if you can’t find anyone, make a group of friends out of hay, coconuts and hockey sticks. And no matter what you do in life, it’s okay.”
If you feel aimless and spend years doing a job that seems meaningless to you, even that is okay. You don’t necessarily have to be defined by your work. You will naturally gravitate to the things that make you happy.”

It’s sort of a new thing, this idea that you need to find a job that fulfills you – that you’d do without pay – in order to be an actualized person. As some have pointed out, that’s a privileged position to take. So I loved this idea that maybe the thing that brings you the most joy and makes you feel most fulfilled isn’t going to be your job.

Stephen Colbert

Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say “yes.”

The day I stop being affected by improv as a life metaphor is the day I stop. Everything. Because what’s left after that?

The Writers

JK Rowling

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

We hear a lot about Rowling writing Harry Potter in cafes while living in public housing. But what nobody says is that at the time, she had no way to know whether her book would succeed, or if she was even doing the right thing. You’re probably not going to write the next Harry Potter, but you’ve succeeded by at least trying. You have not, however, succeeded as much as the person who wrote Harry Potter. Sorry.

Neil Gaiman

” Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art.
I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.
Make it on the good days too.”

While I do love the advice above, I also really loved Tavi Gevinson’s response to it — that sometimes when things go really wrong, it’s okay if all you want to do is consume other people’s art. There’s value in being an observer too – she likened it to the Fat Lady metaphor in Franny and Zooey. So, make good art – if you can. If you can’t, just take in things that you think are good, instead.  When you can make art, it will make yours better. And if you never make anything, it will make you better.

Toni Morrison

If these are indeed the best years of your life, you do have my condolences because there is nothing, believe me, more satisfying, more gratifying than true adulthood. The adulthood that is the span of life before you. The process of becoming one is not inevitable. Its achievement is a difficult beauty, an intensely hard won glory, which commercial forces and cultural vapidity should not be permitted to deprive you of.

I’d listen to Toni Morrison talk even if she wasn’t really saying anything — but she is.

David Foster Wallace


“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
[…]  The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death. It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:
“This is water.”
“This is water.”
It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime.”

If I were you I’d listen to the whole thing, if only because Wallace’s extended Supermarket story is a better description of the Fundamental Attribution Error – and why it matters, and how mindfulness and presence can combat it – than I learned in any college psych class.

John Green

“This is difficult to do—it is difficult to remember that people with lives different and distant from your own even celebrate birthdays, let alone with gifts of graffitied plywood. You will always be stuck inside of your body, with your consciousness, seeing through the world through your own eyes, but the gift and challenge of your education is to see others as they see themselves, to grapple with this mean and crazy and beautiful world in all its baffling complexity”

A graduation speech for all of us who sometimes get overwhelmed when we think about how everyone out there has as much of an inner life as we do.

The Musicians

Dolly Parton

Now if I have but one favor to ask of you, it’s that you care more. Did you ever notice that there are a whole lot of people that do things just well enough to get by? But, caring is about striving for perfection. It’s about how you look. It’s about how you prepare. And how you keep your commitments.

I’m not even sorry: I love Dolly Parton. She’s my favorite kind of person: she’s hilarious, she’s caring, and she’s an unlikely polymath. Really! Parton sings, acts, composes, writes, runs an entertainment empire, and has a great not-for-profit. Dolly sends books to every child born in Tennessee until the kid is 5. My nephew was born in Nashville, moved to New York, and still got the books. I loved her distinction between dreams and wishes, and I can’t think of a better role model for those of us who don’t feel the need to pick just one thing to do.

Patti Smith

You are never alone. You have friends and family. But you also have your ancestors. Your ancestors sing in your blood. Call to them: their strength through the ages will come into you. And then there are your spiritual ancestors. Call on them. They have set themselves up through human history to be at your disposal. Jesus said “I am with you always, even to the end of time.” Alan Ginsberg, Walt Whitman. They are with you. Choose the one you wish. He or she will walk with you. Don’t forget that: you are not alone.

In Just Kids, Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe loved their idols – poets, musicians, artists – as fiercely as you love people in your real life. So I don’t know how I missed that Smith saw this as a two-way relationship — your idols love you back, because when somebody inspires you they are guiding your steps. What is better than a universe so generous that it scatters these people throughout time for us, if we want to use them?

John Legend

“Soul is about authenticity. Soul is about finding things in your life that are real and pure, the things that you know are at your core, the things you were put on this earth to do, the moments when sound and silence come together.”

How To Fall In Love With John Legend In 14 Minutes Or Less: By John Legend. This speech is really good, everyone – a beautiful, accessible discussion of the politics of empathy.

Sean Combs

“Nobody is going to give you anything. There’s no rescue team coming, no National Guard, no aid coming. Nothing. You’re going to have to go out there and get it. And the only way forward is to decide you want that dream so bad that you are going to work harder, you’re going to get up earlier, you’re going to stay later, you’re going to push passed the people who doubted you, laughed at you, hated on you.”

Sean Combs, who we are allowed to call Puff Daddy again, gives the kind of tough love advice that graduates – and all of us – need to hear if we’re going to get things done. I also like the part where he says to imagine him singing in your ear “I thought I told you that we won’t stop.” In the unlikely event that I land a law school commencement speech, I will tell the graduates to picture me putting both my hands on their shoulders, leaning very close to their face, and screaming “GET JUSTICE! GO! GET JUSTICE! GO!”, so I really like this approach.

Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

Kids, after nine seasons, 208 episodes, eight slaps, three Canadian pop star music videos, countless girlfriends and one person revealed to be the perfect mother, How I Met Your Mother is coming to an end.

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I’ve been a HIMYM fan since season one, which I suppose is rare in this day and age, especially since the show has lasted this long. And while my level of obsession never quite hit an embarrassing peak like I did with The Office, I can’t help but compare  the two. Both are sitcoms that will forever have a mark on television, both have loyal fan followings, both ended (are ending) with nine seasons to their resume. Like The Office, fans were given a year’s worth warning that it would be the final season, but that doesn’t mean the end comes any easier. It’s been a year since I’ve watched a full episode of The Office, because it hurts my heart too much to know there will most likely never be another new episode again.

And with every episode of HIMYM that passes by, with every last slap, every last high five, every last ‘legendary’ uttered, the reality of the show ending is hitting me like a brick wall, and I’m unable to keep my emotions in tact. I’m like pregnant Lily with the non-stop crying. But let’s not focus on the show ending, but rather what we’ve been able to learn over the past nine years.

We all know that the point of us hearing Ted tell all these stories is to explain to his kids how he met and fell in love with their mother. But in that nine year span of storytelling, we watched him and the gang experience love, heartbreak, births, deaths, and overall, grow up. I mean think about yourself nine years ago compared to who you are now. You’ve gone through shit and it’s changed you for the better or worse, but either way it has changed you. Everything Ted recalled to his kids over nine seasons helped explain how and why it’s led to meeting the love of his life. Like Ted, I’m a very big ‘everything happens for a reason’ person, and this entire series is the epitome of that. So in the spirit of that mantra, here are the best life lessons we’ve gleaned from HIMYM, the ones that help shape who we are, and the ones we will remember for the rest of our lives.

Because sometimes, even if you know how something’s gonna end, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride. – Ted Mosby

Get out of the house, Go for a walk, Get a bagel

Season 4, Episode 22: Right Place, Right Time

Architect Ted is down in the dumps because he was commissioned to design a chain restaurant called Rib Town in the shape of a giant cowboy hat. Not exactly what he imagined he would be doing with his life. Clearly frustrated, Robin suggests he get out of the house, go for a walk and get a bagel. A series of circumstances lead him to crosswalk where his ex-fiancee, Stella runs into him. That meeting led to his eventual hiring at Columbia University where he taught an architecture class – which is where The Mother, a student, sees Ted for the first time.

In times of frustration or when we feel like we’re at a dead end, it’s hard to figure out what our next move will be. But maybe the best move you can make is one that is out of your comfort zone. Maybe the best move you can make is just go out and do something. Period. We don’t know what we’ll find when we go off the beaten path, but it might turn out to change your life forever.

Nothing Good Happens After 2AM

Season 1, Episode 18: Nothing Good Happens After 2AM

Ted relays to his kids that his mom used to say, ‘Nothing good happens after 2am.’ Proving this theory right, he recalls the time he was waiting up for a phone call from his girlfriend Victoria, who lived in Germany. However, Robin (Ted’s ex and forever one of the great loves of his life) was feeling depressed and alone, and called Ted asking him to come over. It was past 2am, and he should have gone to bed, but he went to Robin’s instead. One thing leads to another, Ted tells Robin that he & Victoria broke up (they hadn’t), Ted starts making out with Robin, Ted goes to the bathroom to call Victoria to break-up with her, only to go back out to the living room to see he had Robin’s phone, and Robin is on the phone talking to Victoria and everything in Ted’s life crumbles down like the Arcadian.

Just quit while you’re ahead. Or behind. Better yet, just go to sleep. Stay in. Whatever you do, don’t go out after 2am. It’s too late for anything good to happen.

The Front Porch Test

Season 4, Episode 17: The Front Porch

Lily admits she has been conducting a secret test with all of Ted’s paramours, and if they don’t pass it, she attempts to break them up. Called The Front Porch Test, Lily would picture said significant other of Ted when they’re old and playing bridge on their front porch, and if she can’t imagine them being a part of their tight-knit group years from now, she’d smoke ’em out.

I’m not suggesting you purposely break your friends up with their boyfriends/girlfriends here. The point is that Lily knew that they would be best friends for the rest of their lives. She didn’t just imagine growing old with Marshall and their kid(s), but with Ted, Barney, Robin and The Mother too. While this show is largely about finding out who the love of Ted’s life is, it’s really about these friends who become each other’s family. They’ve already been through so much together in nine seasons, and it’s crazy to think that it’s just a little slice of their entire lives. And if we’re lucky enough, we have these friends that easily pass the Front Porch Test too.

Admit You Actually ARE Too Old For This Shit

Season 4, Episode 19: Murtaugh

Any fan of HIMYM can tell you that one of Barney Stinson’s favorite pasttimes is laser tag. In this episode, he tries to get Ted to go play laser tag with him, but Ted refuses, citing his Murtaugh List. Named after Danny Glover’s character in the Lethal Weapon series, whose signature phrase is ‘I’m too old for this shit!’, the Murtaugh List is a record of things he believes he has become too old to do anymore. Among the activities are pulling an all nighter, put off going to the doctor, going to a rave and using a beer bong.

Somewhere around the age of 27 it kind of hits you like a ton of bricks that you’re not getting any younger. Well, it was for me, at least. You’re checking off the next level of age range boxes on forms and looking around you only to see that it’s like everyone you know is getting married or having a baby – because we’re old enough that it’s normal to do so. For example, some of the things on my Murtaugh List include but are not limited to: going to midnight premieres of movies, drinking to vomit-inducing levels, sleeping past noon, using my undated college ID for discounts, shopping at Forever 21 (which is probably the hardest thing on this list for me to stop doing), and wasting my time.

There’s No Escaping Your Embarrassing Past

Season 2, Episode 9: Slap Bet

For the record, this episode was a complete gamechanger in the world of HIMYM – and one of the best in the entire series. The gang finds out Robin doesn’t like going to malls, and they set out on a quest as to why. They have their own theories – Marshall thinks she got married in a mall, Barney is adamant Robin did porn – so the two agree to a Slap Bet, in which the winner of the bet gets to slap the loser as hard as they can. Barney finds a video of someone named Robin Sparkles, and thinking he won, slaps Marshall. However, it turns out the tape is actually of Robin as a teen pop star in her native Canada, whose hit single was called Let’s Go To The Mall. Because of his premature slap, slap bet commissioner Lily allows Marshall to dole out 10 slaps in succession or five for all eternity, and Barney chooses the latter. Hence the reason the slaps were randomly placed throughout the series.

I’m assuming there are very few of people out there who lived a past life as a pop star, so let’s put this in layman’s terms. Whether there’s physical evidence of your less-than-stellar years past or emotional remnants leftover, the things that have happened to you yesterday never really leave you. But you can either choose to run away from it or embrace it. Use your personal Robin Sparkles to empower you, to make you a better person.

Some People Have Expiration Dates

Season 2, Episode 22: Something Blue

Ted: Seriously, where do you see yourself in five years?
Robin: Where do you see yourself?
Ted: Honestly, in five years, I’d probably want to be married.
Robin: And I’d probably want to be in Argentina.
Ted: Argentina?
Robin: Or Tokyo, or Paris. Look Ted, I don’t know where I’m gonna be in five years. I don’t wanna know. I want my life to be an adventure.
Ted: We have an expiration date, don’t we?

Spoiler alert: Ted and Robin’s romantic relationship didn’t really legit expire until this past week, TBH. But in general, we have to accept that sometimes we’re not meant to be friends or in a relationship with people that are currently in our lives – even if you think they pass the Front Porch Test. Like I mentioned in my Murtaugh List, I’m too old to waste my time. That applies to people too. If a relationship in your life feels ‘rotten’ or on its way out, it’s time to accept the fact there’s an end date, and you just need to throw it away.

Never Miss Big Events, If You Don’t Want To Know The End

Season 2, Episode 14: Monday Night Football

The gang makes it an annual tradition to watch the Super Bowl together, but this particular year, Mark from their favorite pub dies – and his funeral is the night of the Super Bowl. The wake lasts all night, so they’re forced to watch it all together the next day. However as you know, avoiding big news like who won the biggest game of the year in America is not an easy task. Ted even wears the “Sensory Deprivator 5000” (made of sunglasses with tiny holes to see out of and blinders duct taped to the side made out of an old cereal box) to avoid seeing and hearing anything while he goes to pick up their favorite wings from a sports bar. Hilarity ensues.

I hate spoilers. I am that person who avoids social media starting at 5pm PST if I know a show I love will have a strong social media presence, because I don’t want to know what happens. On #Scandal Thursdays? Forget it. I avoid Twitter like the plague. I often wish I had Ted’s Sensory Deprivator 5000, because I’m that serious about not getting spoiled. That being said, no one can complain about getting spoilers while online, because then you’re just being an idiot. Like our head Gladiator, Kerry Washington recently tweeted:

“Folks mad about spoilers are making me laugh. I feel u’re pain but thats what EVENT TV is! If u dont wanna know the score, dont follow ESPN.”

Challenge Accepted

Most people know that this phrase is used throughout the series by Barney, mainly, even taking on things that aren’t necessarily challenges as challenges anyways. For example, he’s accepted the challenges of sleeping with Marshall’s professor, talking his way out of a speeding ticket, hook up with a girl while wearing Marshall’s old overalls, get a girl’s number while talking like a dolphin, and perhaps my favorite, get a girl’s number in a garbage bag, without using the letter ‘e’.

While I’m not judging if you decide to you Barney’s ‘Challenge Accepted’ to pick up girls/guys (well not that much anyways), perhaps we can accept challenges in our lives a different way. Go out of your way to do something you’re never done before . It can be as simple as trying a new item on the menu of your fave restaurant or as big as deciding to move to another city. Another big theme of HIMYM is taking chances. Don’t be afraid of the possibility of making a mistake. And sometimes even when you know something is a mistake – you just have to make it anyways. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. Stagnancy is the ruin of life – how do we expect to be better if we don’t at least try?

Some Things Are Better Left Unspoken, Enjoy Each Others’ Company Instead

And it’s funny, in a moment like that, when what’s really happening is too intense to deal with, sometimes it’s best to leave it unspoken, and just enjoy each other’s company instead. {x}

Season 9, Episode 19: Vesuvius

The final season, the writers have been focused on one weekend, that of Barney and Robin’s wedding. That’s 24 episodes taking place over the course of three days. A lot happens in that span of time, and by episode 19, Ted’s planning to go off to Chicago and Marshall and Lily are saying Arrivederci to NY and Ciao to Italy. It’s this very moment that the group realizes an epic era is coming to and end and it might be a while before all five of them are in a room together again.

It’s all a bit overwhelming, because as characters, it hits them that they’re not going to see each other every day. As actors, I imagine they thought the same thing. As a viewer, it hit me that the show is actually ending. It has an expiration date. Shit is getting real. But like Future Ted says, ‘sometimes it’s best to leave it unspoken and enjoy each other’s company instead.’ It reminds me of when our group of high school friends were all together one last time before we each went our separate ways for college. It hurt like a motherfucker, knowing it was going to be different when we returned. We would never have that time together again. While I obviously still love them to this day and we go back to our old rhythms as if nothing’s passed when we do see each other, nothing will ever compare to the time we spent in high school. The best we can ever do is enjoy the moment while it’s here.

Wait For It…

Ultimately, HIMYM has always been a lesson in patience. Patience for Ted to find the love of his life and patience for the audience to find out who that person is. We live in a world where we expect everything right away. Our food delivered to us speedily, the scores of the game, information about the exports of Guyana at the click of a button. I mean we live in a world where binge-watching exists, and we want more as soon as it’s over.

Ted had to go through a number of heart-wrenching breakups and a slew of women he didn’t care about (lit’rally called someone ‘Blah Blah’ because he couldn’t remember her name. Carol. It was Carol.) – and if he didn’t experience all those years of frustration in that exact sequence of events, he would have never met The Mother. While it may be inexplicable why you’re going through what you’re going through now, there’s a bigger picture than we can see or even imagine. All we have to do is trust that everything will work itself out the way it’s meant to be.

One of my favorite quotes is by Lewis Smedes, and he says,

“Waiting is our destiny. As creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for, we wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light. We wait in fear for a happy ending that we cannot write. We wait for a ‘not yet’ that feels like a ‘not ever.’ Waiting is the hardest work of hope; waiting is the land between where things were and where things will be; and you don’t get to choose when you get to a waiting room, but you certainly get to choose how you will respond to waiting.”

So thank you cast, crew, writers, producers, everyone involved with How I Met Your Mother. It’s clear that you didn’t just create a classic sitcom forever etched in the history of television, but have also inspired millions of people to be better, to do better, to live their best lives, and to love – because it’s the best thing we do.

 

Spring Cleaning Your Life

Happy first day of spring, y’all! The sun shows its face a little longer (12 hours to be exact), the weather (usually) gets warmer and we can finally put the nasty winter behind us. The coming of spring is also a time for rebirth and regrowth, a marker for us to start anew. And that includes getting rid of anything in our lives that feels old or unused – aka it’s spring cleaning time.

I’m not talking about doing a thorough sweep of your house/apartment and getting rid of old items in your pantry or clothes that you haven’t worn in a year (although you should probs do that too). No, I’m talking about cleaning up your life. Things that effect you every day that you keep putting off but know you should do something about. Here are a few suggestions for making your life a little less messy and a little more bearable than ever before.

DVR

I am probably not the best example for this, but I’m hoping this will help some of you out there. The problem with television today is that there are too many good shows on right now. That means there are probably a lot of shows on your list that you have to go through every week. I’m not even going to tell you how many shows I actively watch, because it’s stupidly embarrassing. But there are also shows that are on my list that I just watch out of habit, that I should probably just delete from my DVR because it’s not adding anything to my life. Example: Heart of Dixie. Why did I start watching it? Jason Street and Summer Roberts (Scott Porter and Rachel Bilson). Why am I still watching it? No idea. I put it on and I only half pay attention to what is happening. If you asked me what’s going on this season, I could tell you that Zoe is still dating that Jewish boyfriend from NY and not with Wade, and Jamie King’s character is MIA because she had a baby IRL. Case in point: it’s time to clean out my series recordings.

Hard Drive

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Is your computer running slow? Maybe it’s because you have too many extemporaneous files and pictures and songs your never listen to stored in the nooks and crannies of your hard drive. It’s time to clean up those cookies and get rid of those songs you downloaded in college just to create some kind of party mix, because honestly, are you listening to SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS on the daily while relaxing or browsing the internet?

E-mail Subscriptions

I admit it: I’m the worst at e-mails. Replying, sending, deleting from my inbox. I also sign up for things and forget how I signed up in the first place. Like all those Groupon/LivingSocial/OneSaleADay shit is too much. Literally ‘Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That’. I went to the Tribeca Film Festival once in 2005 and I am still on their mailing list. Unless they’re going to personally fly me out to New York, I’m probably never going again. So why am I still receiving their e-mails?? BECAUSE I’M LAZY AND DELETE THEM INSTEAD OF JUST UNSUBSCRIBING.

Facebook Friends

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You know when you’re going through your Facebook feed and you say “UGH” outloud when you see someone’s status of “going to the gym” or 500 pictures of the same baby just in different angles or those people who make politically incorrect and/or slightly racist comments  on your wall? Yeah, time to go through your list and unfriend those folks. You’re not in college anymore where the whole goal of Facebook was to be friends with every single person you had a class with. Use Facebook to stay connected with the people you actually care about. Maybe you’ll even find yourself complaining less about Facebook in general.

Actual Friends

girl bye nene

Let’s be real. There are people in your life that you should just cut off. If there’s anything I’ve learned being in my “late 20s” it’s that I don’t have patience or time to deal with people that don’t add to my life in any way. They might be the type of friends that add more drama to your life than is necessary as an adult or perhaps they are the type that are just… there, but either way, why are you wasting your time on people who aren’t a positive influence in your life when you could be hanging out with those who enrich your entire being? It may seem harsh, but you gonna do what you gotta do.

Best of C+S 2013: The Greatness That is Amy Poehler

It’s Day 2 of our ‘Best of’ series, and we bring you our blog’s patron saint, Amy Meredith Poehler. You’ll find her sprinkled all over Cookies + Sangria, so since we could only pick one, we decided on one of the main reasons we love her – she’s not just a celebrity that entertains us and carries on with her daily life – she uses her platform in the public eye to make a difference and inspire. Keep doing yo thang girl. 143 AAF LYLAS.

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Amy Poehler: Sage to All

{originally posted April 24th}

If you know either Molly or I, or have even been reading this blog for a while, you know that we have a special place in our heart for Amy Poehler. So naturally, I follow (read: stalk) everything she does. Amy started a website/YouTube channel a while ago called Smart Girls at the Party, which inspires, encourages, and features young, smart, women. All their featured shows are fantastic (and even involve dance parties!), but one of my favorites on the site (and on the internet) is Ask Amy.

This is a series of short videos in which Amy answers viewer questions, and focuses on one topic per episode. You may have seen the latest episode make its rounds on the internet.

I Love You Boston

As you can tell, she approaches these videos and topics from an honest, earnest place, and genuinely wants to give advice to everyone watching. What’s touching about this particular episode is that Amy, who is a Boston-area native, is clearly fed up with last week’s horrific events, and her downcast and fed up demeanor exemplifies exactly what I’m assuming all of America is feeling right now. And while we may not have all the answers to what’s going on, there is something we can do to prevent from becoming too saturated with the bad things in the world.

Sigh. I love her so much. Here are a few of my favorite episodes, but I suggest you check the whole site out!!

Goodbye
“The only thing we can depend on is change… Life is just a series of moments… a string of pearls that make up the necklace of your life and every once in a while to complete the circle, you need to end a chapter.” (Bonus Abel at the end!!!)

Decisions
“Most decisions aren’t final. Feelings change all the time. You can always change your mind and taking risks and making choices is what makes life so exciting because we never know whats going to happen. Every day something new comes our way. Isn’t that exciting?”

Letting Go

“Let go of the idea of trying… Letting go suddenly is an act of faith and the universe provides for you what is really meant to be.”

Courage

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it.”

Stress
In which Amy sits in a bathtub and calls herself a crazy person.

IDGAF: A Life Lesson From A Fed Up Twenty-Something

“I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.” – our patron saint Amy Poehler {x}

In about two weeks, I will be flying off to Miami, boarding a Carnival cruise, and shipping off to the Bahamas.

Oh, and BTW, it’s a cruise with the Backstreet Boys. Yes, you read that right. It’s one of those cruises that celebrities do to engage with their fans in a different way. these things are becoming more and more common, with everything from a Dancing with the Stars cruise to a Broadway Legends cruise, all going to some island in the Caribbean with hundreds of people willing to pay money to hang out with their favorite celebrities.

Top Chef stars were actually on the boat, not floating around it…

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while or even know me irl you know that my love for BSB isn’t new. This has been an interest of mine for the past 18 years. But it’s only been over the past year or so that I’ve really owned up to it.

I basically attribute this to the fact that as I get older, I just don’t give a fuck what people think anymore. I mean that in the not caring about the negatives way, not in the constructive criticism way. I appreciate the latter. As I was growing up, I wouldn’t say I necessarily touted the fact I was a huge BSB/pop music fan, but I also wasn’t hiding it. I felt that if I showed it off too much, there would inevitably be that one person to make fun of me and my teenage self confidence would be forever broken. Obviously, to this day, it’s still not considered “cool” to like BSB, boy bands or even pop music in general, especially years after their height of fame.

But now I don’t care anymore. What it really comes down to for me now is why do we judge people’s interest in the first place?

Think of it this way: what is your guilty pleasure? Honey Boo Boo? Housewives? That one song by Katy Perry?

Now ask yourself: why is this “guilty” at all?

Because the professional critics pan it? Because it may be popular but it’s not contributing anything to society? Because it’s simply not “cool” to like it?

Why do we even care? Why are we even judging others in the first place? We spend too much time worrying about others when all we really need to do is worry about ourselves and how we’re living our best lives. Why keep apologizing or living with shame when we could be more confident and comfortable with who we really are? Why does it matter if your neighbor is a One Direction fan – I mean it would matter if they’re a 50 year old woman who’s legit stalking them and collecting enough memorabilia to be on an episode of Hoarders, in which case you should probably call the police or something.

We should never feel guilty over something that brings us joy to our lives. Just because I like the Backstreet Boys and obsess over Pretty Little Liars theories, it doesn’t mean I don’t know the correct way to pronounce John “Boehner” or what country Bashar Al-Assad is the President of.

A couple of my friends and I were talking about this the other day, and I brought up how my boss at work found out that I was going on this cruise, and the first time he asked me about it, there was this sense of ‘I’m judging you right now’ in his voice. This is a 40-something year old man who is mainly into punk rock. But because my boss and I aren’t really friends and hang out and have deep conversations with each other, me liking BSB is really the only thing he knows about me. He was writing a story about Nick Carter and his fiancee and asked me if I “had a voodoo doll of her in my room”…. The answer is no, for all those wondering. But his comment really irked me. Of course I don’t have a voodoo doll of this celebrity’s fiancee because I am not crazy nor a delusional 12 year old who thinks that I still have a chance at romancing him. Plus I’m an AJ girl anyways.

There’s a scene in Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts who doesn’t have a favorite way to take her eggs. Richard Gere’s character points out that with all her past boyfriends/fiances, she’s always deemed her favorite type of egg with whatever her significant other liked. Priest Brian liked scrambled, so she did too. Bug Guy liked poached and poached was her fave too. And spoiler alert: towards the end of the movie she ventures off to find out which one she likes the best because she likes it- not because she’s influenced by someone else.

As I get older, I have a greater sense of what I like, what kind of people I want to surround myself with -exactly how I like my eggs. Life’s too short to focus on the negative or live a life fearing what others think of you. If it’s not helping others, it’s certainly not helping you, so just distance yourself from the negative bullshit, the peer pressure, the crowd mentality. Think for yourself and no one else.

Because, you know, YOLO.

Life Lessons From ZOOM

I live my adult professional life by the principles of the late-90s reboot of Zoom. Yes, the PBS children’s show. This wasn’t intentional. In fact, I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I sat down to write a post about Zoom, at which point I discovered that the show had leached into my subconscious and bled all the way through to my working life. Sure, I’ve learned a lot from higher education and on-the-job experience — but everything I really needed to know, I apparently learned from Zoom.

1) Always cheer for your friends.

Remember how every time they were playing a game, all of the kids would cheer for everyone who was competing? They’d be all “Go Zoe! Go Jared! You can do it, Zoe! You got this, Jared!”. At twelve, I thought that no real kids actually did this — you picked who you wanted to win, and that was that. There was a lot more smack talk in my childhood.

Now that I’ve grown up, I realize that I take a Zoom approach to other people’s success. As long as it’s one of my people getting ahead, I’m happy. That’s not to say I won’t work like crazy so that I’m the one getting the good project, or the promotion, or whatever. But, if a friend or colleague is recognized, that’s almost as good as a victory for myself. You aren’t in competition with your friends or even your co-workers, is I guess what I’m saying. It’s good to be happy for people. ZOOM Games taught me that.

2) The zip code in Allston is 02134.

    True story: I had to mail something to Boston a few months ago, and didn’t have the exact address. I was able to look it up on Google maps because I had an approximate zip code, thanks to that damn theme song that is still in my head after 14 years.

3) Sometimes you just need to learn something by watching people.

I’m talking about ubbi-dubbi. I could lapse into ubbi dubbi this second. But ask me to explain how to do it, and it would be super confusing. However, if you watched a few clips of the Zoom-ers speaking it, you could ubbi-dubbi with the best of them. This definitely happens in the adult world — when long, step-by-step instructions fail you, sometimes the best thing to say is “hey, can I watch you do that once?” and you’ll get it.

4) If someone has an idea, you have to listen to them for instructions. If you’re giving instructions, you have to make people listen to you.

I wish someone had told me that 90% of being an adult with a professional job was just being kind of pushy so that people would do what I need them to do. Since Zoom was a kids-only show, one of the Zoomers would be the one to explain the rules of a game or how to do a craft. Unlike real children, the other Zoom kids listened with rapt attention. I definitely try to do that when someone’s telling me something important. But when you’re the one giving orders, you have to speak loudly and clearly and look the other people straight in the face, just like Keiko and Buzz did – unless you’re working over email, and then you have to do the email equivalent of that.

5) Positivity And Perseverance Will Keep Your Team On Track

While the “being pushy so people do what I need them to do” thing does come up a lot, I much prefer it when people just respond to teamwork. It’s not a cool trait at all, but I’m plucky,  like an adult American Girl doll or a character from a Haley Mills movie. No kidding, one of my higher-ups praised my “can-do attitude” when I took over a book series. Well, you can thank PBS afternoon television for that. Zoomers didn’t give up, even when they were losing or really, really struggling.  And when you’re working with other people – whether a production staff or the other kids on your balloon toss game – your positive attitude translates to everyone else. My work is deadline heavy, and as the editor in charge, I can’t say “this is awful, we’re running so late, and by the way it’s your fault because you forgot to do part of your job.” It works much, much better to let everyone know that we can do this, and that as the one responsible, you’re going to do everything you can to get the job done.

6) Crowd-Source Your Content

PBS knew that adults couldn’t always come up with fun kid activities, so most of the games and recipes were sent in by kids. I can’t prove this, but I feel like it was almost always Stephanie M. from Toledo, Ohio. This is definitely the way to go in most real-life professions, too. I mean the “getting feedback from your target audience” thing, not so much the Stephanie M. thing.

7) Sometimes People Way Older Or Way Younger Than You Have Really Great Ideas

When you’re a kid, the difference between an 8 year old and a 12 year old is HUGE. Zoom spanned a pretty wide age range — you know those kids would not have been hanging out together in real life. Still, everyone learned from each other. If you’re starting out in your career and are way young compared to everyone else (that’s me!), or if you’re working with people half your age, don’t just write off those youths or fogeys. Caroline’s ideas weren’t always bad, you know.

8) Always have a healthy snack after school

Or after work, whatever. Or in the late afternoon, if you keep healthy snacks in your desk drawer. 9 times out of 10, when I hit that mid-afternoon slump, it’s some sort of blood sugar situation and a handful of almonds or an apple perk me right up (sometimes the only answer is caffeine. Zoom didn’t teach me that one. Also you know who couldn’t have nuts? Zoe. She was allergic). Thanks, Cafe ZOOM.

9) It’s OK if you show up in the same outfit as somebody else. Or everybody else.

Whatever, it was a good t-shirt.

10) Learning is cool.

My mom was an elementary school science teacher when I was a kid, so my childhood was all dissecting owl pellets and growing crystals. Although it was no Bill Nye or Beakman’s World, Zoom helped emphasize that learning new things is cool. When you’re working, that means jumping in headfirst to learn about a new task, field, or emerging technology. Props to Zoom Sci for that one.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

On a recent trip back to my hometown, my friend asked me, “Does it feel like home when you come back to Rochester?” He posed an interesting question that I guess I’ve never been asked before, and I had to find the right words to accurately depict a real answer.

Sure it felt like home, but not in the same sense that it was when I was younger. I guess the idea of ‘home’ changed somewhere around spring of 2006. I spent the semester studying abroad in the Netherlands with 79 other kids from my college, and we all lived and took classes in this medieval castle. I went in there not really knowing anyone, but ended up leaving with a group of lifelong friends, the experience of traveling around Europe, and it essentially became a turning point into adulthood.

I’ve mentioned it briefly before, but while I was there I was introduced to a song called cathedrals by Jump Little Children. One of the lyrics from the song that I still connect to to this day says,

In the cathedrals of New York and Rome, there is a feeling that you should just go home – and spend a lifetime finding out just where that is.

It was true – this random castle in a sleepy Holland town became my home after 3 months, and although I absolutely loved it there , I was longing to go home to America to see my family and friends. Problem was – Boston slowly became my home and Rochester was the home I only ever knew before going away to college.

I’ll never forget one of the first nights back in the States. I was staying in my old dorm room, which was now occupied by some random granola crunchy girl. It hit me all at once – I was back in Boston – in America – the day I had been dreaming of for the past three months – yet I just broke down and cried. Like I was probably having a mental breakdown but I just sobbed out all my emotions and insisted i was okay. If I was exactly where I wanted to be, why was I so upset?

A year later, I officially moved to Boston. It was the first time I wasn’t going home to Rochester for the summer and the first time Boston felt like home too. Two years after that, I made a somewhat quick decision to move to Los Angeles and nearly four years later, a city I swore I would never move to has now become my home as well.

On the same recent trip to Rochester, I realized that I get the same questions from my parents’ friends. “Do you like it in LA?” Swear to God, the two times every year that I go to Rochester, someone asks me that without fail. I’ve always thought that was a weird question to ask someone, especially since I’ve been living in LA for so long. Of course I like it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here still. It might be their way of making conversation or perhaps because I think too much into things, it might be their way of saying, “Why do you like it in LA so much? It’s so much better here in Rochester.”

My cordial answer to them is always a vague, ‘Yes I like it a lot. ‘ I don’t want to go into the reasons why LA can be annoying at times, because honestly who can say they love every single things about where they live and have no complaints? But yes, I like it, yes it’s home for me now, but so are these other places around the world. Anyone who’s lived in more than one place can relate. I feel like Voldemort leaving pieces of his soul everywhere but without the whole evil side of it. My heart is in Rochester, it’s in Boston, it’s in Well, the Netherlands. Who knows what will come in the future?  I’ll just have to spend the rest of my life discovering just exactly where home is.

I Am Not A Morning Person

Photo May 08, 12 59 01 AM

I have never been a morning person. Even as a kid I tended to stay up late way later than I should have, and despite thinking it would be easy to get up the next morning, it never was. Nothing’s really changed over the years, as much as I’ve tried. While we’ve all overslept before, I had somewhat of a nightmare story that includes breaking and entering, crossing state lines, and pushing the speed limit. Here’s an exact guide of what NOT to do if you want to get up on time like a normal human being.

1) Don’t go to sleep late if you need to get up early

Hello Captain Obvious. I mean this goes without saying, but sometimes it’s just so hard to go to sleep, you guys. The internet. Like, the internet is a deep, dark, scary, YouTube filled hole. But if you’re planning on taking a mini road trip to a city four hours away, and you have to be on time in order to make The Office tour in Scranton, Pennsylvania, don’t go to sleep late.

2) Don’t fall asleep with your phone in your hand

So here’s the thing about me: I use an alarm clock and my phone to wake up. Like a DUAL alarm clock, and set four alarms on my cell phone. The alarm clock is more of a warning, it’s almost time for you to get up, so you can keep pressing snooze, mechanism. The cell phone alarms are to actually wake me up. So when it’s imperative that you get up at 6am to take the subway to your friend/roommate’s house so she can drive to Scranton, make sure your phone is properly place don your nightstand, and not hastily on your bed. Because if it is just lying next to you while you’re sleeping, you could accidentally throw it off your bed in a fit of rage during your REM cycle, causing it to crash on the ground with the battery detached from the rest of the phone.

3) Make sure your roommate who’s been living at home still has a key to your apartment

If someone’s that’s meeting you is wondering where you are, but has no way of contacting you because your phone is in bits on the floor, it might be cause for concern. Death? Kidnapping? Ghost scenario and you haven’t been alive after all these years at all? Possibly. If you have a spare key or have a roommate who has a key and is willing to barge into your room to yell at you to wake up because you’re an absolute idiot, that would be ideal.

4) Know how to go from dead to awake in under 5 minutes

Always have an outfit in mind for the next day, especially if you know there will be a lot of photo opportunities. In the case of a late wake up call, you can just throw it on, brush your teeth real quick, and bring your makeup in the car. Also, know how to put on makeup in the car.

5) Make sure your driver friend is willing to disobey speeding laws

Because you’ve been a stupid hoe and totes Britta’d it, your awesome friend now has to make up for lost time. 4 hour driving time to Scranton from Boston? and we have to be there in about 3? No prob. Just speed and keep an eye out for the po-pos.

Meghan, Katie, Phyllis, and me with Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration

6) Get to Scranton right on time and meet Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration